The neighbouring rivals have previously met in some heated ties.

After a round-robin stage that saw India struggle initially and then find their form, a final meeting with Nepal has come on the deck for Igor Stimac’s side. Nepal, on the other hand, put on an impressive display at the start, ultimately qualifying by drawing with Bangladesh after a loss against India. While the Blue Tigers will be looking to get their hands on an eighth regional title, Nepal will look to taste success for the first time.

With 15 wins, five draws and only two losses against Nepal, the Indians have maintained a dominant record against their neighbours. However, the intensity of the previous clashes suggest the other way – these sides have contested intense matches that have resulted in memorable conclusions. In the two friendlies and the group stage match, glimpses of those could easily be seen.

Before both teams face each other yet again, here are five historic clashes worth looking back at:

5. Nepal 2-2 India (4-3 on penalties) – SAF Games 1993

One of the most memorable encounters between both teams came on 22nd December 1993, when the two sides faced off in the finals of SAF Games. After a 2-2 stalemate in regulation time, Nepal went on to win their second SAF Games gold with a 4-3 win in a penalty shootout.

Termed as the ‘golden generation,’ the Nepali side relied on Umesh Pradhan and Mani Shah to score the two goals. In response, Tejinder Kumar and IM Vijayan scored for the Blue Tigers. After losing the third place match at the 1989 games, the Nepali side secured their first official victory against India in a historic final. This encounter remains the only occasion where India and Nepal have contested a penalty shootout.

4. India 2-0 Nepal – World Cup Qualifiers 2018

WATCH: India 2-0 Nepal – World Cup Qualifiers 2018

For a decade now, Sunil Chhetri has been a crucial figure in the football rivalry between the two teams. When the two sides met in the first round of the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, he emerged as the difference-maker. Playing the first leg on their home turf, India won 2-0, thanks to a brace by Chhetri.

Nepal crashed out of the first round after failing to overturn the result later in Kathmandu. The Blue Tigers managed a scoreless draw, making their first leg result enough for them to advance.

3. Nepal 2-1 India – SAFF Championship 2013

WATCH: 3. Nepal 2-1 India – SAFF Championship 2013

Nepal’s win against India in the 2013 edition of the SAFF Championship came as a historic one. The win marked Nepal’s first win over their neigbours in nearly 20 years, in front of a packed Dasharath Stadium. Attacking duo Anil Gurung and Jumanu Rai scored for the Gorkhalis, before Syed Rahim Nabi got a late consolation goal for India.

The Blue Tigers finished Group A behind Nepal, managing to qualify over Pakistan, despite having equal points on the table. On the other hand, the Gorkhalis finished the group unbeaten, on the back of wins against Bangladesh and India. This remains Nepal’s only senior team win against India in an official tournament, after the turn of the century.

2. India 4-1 Nepal – SAFF Championship 2015

WATCH: India 4-1 Nepal – SAFF Championship 2015

Nepal’s miserable SAFF Championship campaign in 2015 ended with a 4-1 loss against hosts India. Despite scoring early with a moment of magic from 18-year-old Bimal Gharti Magar, the side met trouble when Rowllin Borges and Sunil Chhetri’s goals turned the match the other way.

Later, coming off the bench, another 18-year-old Lallianzuala Chhangte scored two brilliant long range goals within 10 minutes to end the match at 4-1. Announcing his arrival to the world, the Chennaiyin FC winger was awarded the Man of the Match in India’s winning cause.

1. India 1-0 Nepal – Asian Games 1998

It’s always likely for both teams to lock horns in international friendlies and South Asian-level tournaments. However, the sides met, for the only time, at the 1998 Asian Games held in Bangkok.

India, with their dominant record, clinched a 1-0 victory. Carlton Chapman scored the solitary goal that separated the sides. India finished behind Japan in Group C, while Nepal finished at the bottom with two losses.

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